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Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Murphy says a TV guy tweeted Phils signed Burnett to 1-year, $16M deal.

It hasn't been Hamel's shoulder that has given him problems previously but his elbow.

Elbow ligament sprain in '07, missed time and went on the DL at the start of camp in '09, and had surgery to clean out loose bodies in '11 after the season was over.

Only time he had shoulder issues/inflammation was in Aug. '11 when he went on the 15-day DL and missed 3 weeks.

It is hard to not overreact a bit whenever you hear 'shoulder' and a pitcher but the length of the setback is a bit disturbing.

Amaro also lied (yes lied) when he downplayed this issue in earlier Jan when he was asked about it too and said it wasn't a concern.

If Amaro obviously knew this was an issue since Nov, I can understand why he wouldn't disclose it for several reasons but then why didn't this team look to move more aggressively on starting pitching depth besides Hernandez/Gaudin?

Ugh. A rotation of Lee-KK-Hernandez-Pettibone-Gaudin which is almost certainly what it will be now on Opening Day is a bottom 5 in the NL and possibly in MLB.

You know what I smell if Burnett signs now at $16M?


Murphy now has a story up saying he believes the report to be accurate. 1-year, $16M for Burnett.

MG: "Ugh. A rotation of Lee-KK-Hernandez-Pettibone-Gaudin which is almost certainly what it will be now on Opening Day is a bottom 5 in the NL and possibly in MLB."

Good thing you wrote *almost* because it's apparently not.

A rotation of Hamels-Lee-Burnett and two from KK-Hernandez-Mag-Pettibone is certainly not in the bottom 5 of any ranking.

Season = Over

Leads me to believe they think the Hamels injury will keep him out longer than they're letting on. It's not a coincidence that both stories are coming out at the same time. Burnett is their contingency plan.

Burnett is now a we're good, right?

Does this mean their opening day payroll will be higher in 2014 than it was in 2013?

We *could* (should, really) have a record for the shortest time between threads.

Steve - Bingo.

Steve: That's pretty silly. Burnett has enough teams in on him - who would definitely be interested in a 1-year deal - that there's no way they suddenly "made it happen" overnight.

Saw Burnett news on mlbtr = "Cool!"

Came to BL to see if there was any details, saw Hamels news = "Dammit!"

The ups and downs of following this team...

Philibuster- And those teams are at this point for a $16M price tag and more importantly teams that Burnett would consider an offer?

Burnett said he wanted a team close by his home in MD and to ideally pitch in the NL. That basically limits it to Nats, Phils, Pirates, and possibly Reds. That's it.

I'm pleasantly surprised, especially by the one-year deal part. I didn't think RAJ knew about that option.

Damn those 2-0 losses with Burnett on the mound will look much better than 5 or 6-0.

Now let's see if "April" turns into "May"... "June"... "After the All Star Break" and finally... "We're shutting Hamels down" "Needs surgery" "Should be ready for Opening Day 2015"

Buster: I'm not saying they made it happen overnight. They've been well aware of Hamels' condition and that's why they have been in on Burnett. Announcing it at the same time softens the blow.

I mean, it's a smart move. It's a better alternative than trying to go 2 months with Pettibone.

The Baseball Gods giveth and they taketh away.

Spring training hasn't even begun and we can forget about "everything going right."

Cyclic - Yup and the severity of the injury too. Hopefully I'm wrong but having him being shut down for months and having no real timetable is a pretty big deal especially if it is a shoulder injury. Why Pettibone is such a crap shoot this year too.

Remember, this is the same medical staff that stated Halladay's injury was "just" a frayed labrum and torn rotator cuff"

Hamels needs to seek out medical professionals outside of the organization NOW

Next week we find out that (Howard can't run)/(Utley can walk)/(Rollins can't bend over)...there's got to be a reason Rube signed 6 backup infielders.

At least Burnett could be a nice trade chip in July. Not that they'd get back actual talent for him but it's possible.

Hopefully they don't make Burnett practice bunting during spring training.

MG: And any of those teams could have said "Hey, AJ, how about a 2-year deal at $10MM/year?" Suddenly his AAV hit is lower, his guaranteed money is higher, and it's possible the team angling for him gets 2 years if he doesn't retire or "get injured" in the second season.

I'm not saying that it's completely unrelated, but you and several others are being very quick to assume the absolute worst-case scenario. Burnett signing within a week has been in the news for... A week.


“I just wanted to be up front with everyone,” Hamels said. “I am behind schedule in my throwing program. In November/December when I started my throwing program again, I felt discomfort in my shoulder. I talked to our trainers and saw Dr. [Michael] Ciccotti and he diagnosed a little tendinitis.

“I didn’t pick up throwing again until January, so right now I’m in the middle stages of my [offseason] throwing program, which doesn’t allow me to throw bullpens at the moment. Don’t feel alarmed. I’m at the point where I feel healthy now. I’m just trying to build strength and stamina.”

So in other words, he is where he'd expect to be in December/January. He's behind, but not - seemingly - actively injured.

Seems like a very fair and smart deal for both Burnett and the Phillies.

Well done, Rube!

'buster, come on, read between the lines. His left arm may not even be attached anymore.

Cyclic: Heck, I figured he'd been killed and this is just the body double they have available for press events.


You forgot "Everybody!"

I'm just gonna let myself be happy about the Burnett signing, even if it's sort of like buying nicer furniture to put on the Titanic.

Buster, Cole's double is actual Tom from Vanderpump Rules.

I don't know if I can handle the new threads coming so fast and furious... it's making me nervous.

I'm going to go post under the thread about benching Jimmy until it closes out.

Hey, if you have to watch the waters slowly swallow your ankles, you can at least have your butt in an Aeron True Black.

Good news about Burnett.

Bad news about Hamels. But hopefully, this was a minor blip and he really is healed now. Although wear and tear on a pitcher's shoulder is inevitable...oof, hopefully not the tear part.

I am in favor of the Burnett signing. He's still a pretty good pitcher, and generally adding good players who don't burden the future is almost always a good thing.

Plus there's the potential to flip him at the deadline for prospects if he's pitching well (not that I expect the Phillies to capitalize on that, but the potential theoretically exists).

If he pitches well this year, there's the potential that he pitches his way into a QO (would that be the first QO they've offered since the rule-change?).

Then, we either get him back (at slightly reduced cost) on a 1-year deal, we get a compensatory pick, or he retires and nobody else gets him.

As Beerleaguer requires someone to find a cloud to every silver lining, I shall step up and do my duty by being ambivalent on the Burnett signing.

And it's that pitchers don't usually have renaissances starting in their age-35 seasons. Burnett might've finally put it all together in western Pennsylvania, and some of his peripherals do bear that out. (His BB/9 numbers, for instance, are amongst the best in his career while in Pittsburgh.) But it seems far likelier that he's benefited inordinately from moving from one of the game's most hitter-friendly parks to one of the game's most pitcher-friendly ones while also coming off a bad year, which has produced a rather gaudy drop in both ERA and FIP. Park-adjusted metrics seem to bear this out: In his final season with the Yankees, he was good for an ERA+ of 83, while he posted a 107 ERA+ the last two seasons in Pittsburgh. (While being a career 105 ERA+ guy.) If Burnett's turnaround really is the function of PNC Park, then putting him back into a hitter-friendly stadium like Citizens Bank Park will likely not end well.

That being said, Burnett's going to be an average to above-average pitcher in Philadelphia by park-adjusted metrics, which certainly has value and which the Phils should be able to achieve on a 1yr/$16MM deal. But in all likelihood he's not going to be the 2.80 FIP guy who led the Pirates to the playoffs last year. He's also entering his age-37 season and could regress into that horrible place where he was with the Yankees in 2010-11. So like most of the other deals this off-season, one that's got its fair share of risk.

Incidentally, you could easily swap out all references to "A.J. Burnett" and replace them with "Marlon Byrd", and the commentary would still be spot-on. (After converting the relevant pitching metrics into batting/fielding ones. Natch.)

Juums: does it really even matter? It's not like this team is going anywhere

Expecting a 120 ERA+ pitcher and getting a 105 ERA+ pitcher would qualify as successful player evaluation for this front office, given its track record.

Juums: I really appreciate your stepping up to find the downside. I can't be the one to do it every time.

Nonetheless, I wouldn't really say that Burnett had a renaissance at age 35. He basically just had 2 really bad years at ages 33 and 34; other than that, his last 2 years look a lot like all his other years.

Of course, those ages 33-34 seasons are a legitimate concern, as I expressed on this blog when the Burnett rumor first came out. But some of that was probably due to pitching in the Yankee Stadium bandbox. Some could have been due to pitching in the AL East. And some appears to have been bad luck (his FIP & xFIP were both better than his ERA in those seasons, though still not great).

My tummy tells me that a 37-year old, not-super-motivated Burnett might not be as good as everyone hopes in 2014. But if he does pitch as he has in every season except 2010/2011, and Cole can come back in April & pitch like he usually does, at least it gives us a puncher's chance to contend. And if Burnett gets old overnight and reverts to 2010/2011 form, we'll be no worse off than we already are. Hence, the beauty of a one-year deal.

bap, are you surprised that they have increased payroll despite the attendance drop?

Yeah, the Phillies have never traded guys in walk years the past two seasons. Nope, not once.

Some of you guys need new material.

The phillies are probably going to be real close to the lux tax threshold at this point. Currently have $173M (lux tax dollars) committed to 19 players. With the remainder of the 40 man roster and benefits they have to be cutting it close at this point...

Great signing. I think Rube lucked into this one.

If Rube didn't include a no trade this will be even better. But you would think that had to be on AJ's list of demands.

How is the Hamels injury even possible? In my view, Cole Hamels has the most fluid delivery since Doc Gooden. What a nightmare - I really hope Hamels is telling the truth.

Noname: I think they're sitting around $185 at the moment (post-Burnett signing), including benefits and 40-man.

It would be hilarious if we're sitting in 3rd (maybe 10 games back?) in July and Amaro takes on a salary dump that shoots us up to $192, just to troll everyone saying they'd never go over the CBT.

Bicep tendinitis is kind of an odd injury for a baseball player. More common among weightlifters.

Philibuster - But that is highly unlikely at this point that these teams have an extra $10M they would be willing to spend at this point in the offseason.

Damn. I read about Burnett first. Then Hamels. Reminds me of my reaction when they Got Halladay then traded Lee.

Posted by Steve at 11:51

Leads me to believe they think the Hamels injury will keep him out longer than they're letting on. It's not a coincidence that both stories are coming out at the same time. Burnett is their contingency plan.

If Hamels was due back in April as he states he'd only miss a few starts. That wouldn't necessitate bringing in Burnett. Either they were planning to sign Burnett, which I doubt, or Hamels is in worse shape than they're telling us. The latter makes more sense.

Let's see. Hamels in a sling will still be able to show Biddle how to grip his change up. Kendrick will delay his plan to teach the younger guys and will now follow Burnett around the workout room. Halladay, Burnett & Lee will prank MAG who wouldn't get it causing a fist fight.

Did the equipment truck slide through the ice block in Georgia?

MG: That seems like an awful lot of conjecture on your part.

Also, why in the world would the team drop $16MM if they thought Hamels would be out for a significant period? Replacing Hamels with Burnett doesn't make up the difference.


Hamels himself says he expects to pitch in April. The tendinitis put him "8-10 days" behind schedule, after he started noticing it in late November.

Zolecki: "Cole Hamels insists he will be pitching in April, but he is behind schedule because of biceps tendinitis."

Gelb: "Hamels had biceps tendinitis. Could throw a bullpen in 10 days. Started throwing a month late. No MRI."

"are you surprised that they have increased payroll despite the attendance drop?"

I am. All signs seemed to be that payroll was going in the opposite direction.

I like the Burnett signing. I think he benefitted from the big park in Pittsburgh and some good defenders. But, his stuff is still real and when he's locating the curve and let's his catcher call the game, he can dominate. With that said, he had some issues after the all-star break last year with control and you could tell he was wearing down as the season progressed. Finished with a couple strong ones but, then got torched by St. Louis then passed over by his manager in favor of a rookie to start Game 5 of the NLDS. Supposedly does a good job of getting ready to pitch in the off-season. Hope he didn't change his habits b/c of the uncertainty as to if / where he'd pitch.

Is Mike Adams going to be able to pitch this year? If not, maybe he goes on DL60 and falls off the 40 man roster; which I would assume means his salary isn't counted for lux tax purposes...

"Bicep tendinitis is kind of an odd injury for a baseball player. More common among weightlifters."

Have you ever tried to carry a poodle around all day long? They may look small, but after awhile it gets pretty strenuous.

"Hamels consulted with Roy Halladay, who had his career derailed by shoulder issues. Halladay advised Hamels to take his time and not pitch until he's ready."

Um, Cole, see when you call him "Doc", it doesn't mean what you think...

From what I briefly read, biceps tendinitis can often occur as a result of shoulder usage. So it doesn't strike me as bizarre that a pitcher would get it.

In fact, a basic google search shows that it's a pretty common injury for pitchers.

The team would not waste $16 million on Burnett if they thought Hamels would be shelved for months. Since when does this team go all out on a contingency plan?

No Hamels = season=over with or without Burnett. And as I've heard many times, the ownership is all about the bottom line. They're not going to just throw $16 million away on a player that won't put butts in the seats and increase revenue.

It's certainly possible that Hamels' injury turns out to be worse than they're letting on (or that it's misdiagnosed by the crack medical staff), but I'm cautiously optimistic that he's telling the truth for now- and spending $16 million certainly doesn't strike me as a 'panic move' for a team that 'panicked' about a stagnant offense by signing Marlon Byrd.

What's really creepy is tendonitis of the biceps or forearm can be a precursor of an ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, named after a certain Thomas.

What the heck is up with this team? Is someone practicing Voodoo?

No Hamels = season=over with or without Burnett.

Posted by: Iceman | Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 01:27 PM

Um, Iceman, I have some bad news. You might want to sit down for this.

Dang Hugh. Now I see Burnett showing up in Clearwater in the worst shape of his life after developing a taste for head cheese and fried kielbasa sandwiches in Pittsburgh.

I think they could have gotten Burnett for $8MM.

$8MM with a four year player option.

They can do a remake of "Weekend at Bernies" with Hamels?

How can anyone complain about the Burnett signing? It is a 1-year deal for a starter who should be at least above average in a rotation that desperately needs a possible top-line starter.

Just have to temper it against the severity of Hamels' injury news.

No. 1yr/$8MM. I have nothing to back it up. It is just my opinion. :)

The Phillies payroll will likely be about $20M HIGHER than last year (according to Murphy or Gelb... can't find the tweet) and that's despite attendance declining last year and likely declining again this year.

Would be incredibly stupid to blame ownership for "being cheap." They have opened their wallets for a number of years in a row now.

It sounds like Burnett will at least have a limited no trade clause.

Assuming Hamels will be healthy before the end of April, this move makes the Phillies legitimate wild card contenders.

Not favorites, but solid contenders.

Bonifacio clears release waivers. Free to sign with any team at any price.

Not only is Burnett a big name free agent but he's very very very very very very experienced. I mean, this guy's been pitching, you know, a long time. I mean, it's rare when you can just grab someone with 16 years of experience as a pitcher in the majors. Most guys with that kind of experience are, um, old.

"Not only is Burnett a big name free agent but he's very very very very very very experienced."

He also knows what it's like to pitch the second-to-last game of the season.

> Kendrick will delay his plan to teach the younger guys and will now follow
> Burnett around the workout room.
> Posted by: Meyer

I wonder if KK will get any arm tattoos.

IF you think he has a secret sinker Roy tattoo he can put it under that one.

"I'm pleasantly surprised, especially by the one-year deal part. I didn't think RAJ knew about that option."

Did somebody say option?

Iceman - Fair point about Hamels but you could speculate/argue that signing Burnett is a move they made because they thought they were competitive regardless of signing Burnett.

Now with Hamels being a question mark for the regular season they felt they had to sign Burnett just to have a shot to contend.

Final season for Jeter. Fun to watch over the years.

How far does this move the needle of Beerleaguer optimism for 2014?

And are they planning the WS Parade on TGP?

"How far does this move the needle of Beerleaguer optimism for 2014?"

There is a needle for Beerleaguer optimism?

Beerleaguer optimism is an oxymoron.

Matt Gelb tweets: "As it stands now, Phillies will set a club record for payroll. It is approximately $189 million when calculated for luxury tax purposes."

Certainly shatters the myth that payroll is tied to attendance.

Biceps tendinitis is one of the three reasons Adams was put on the DL last year. The other two were lower back strain and of course, shoulder. It's not that uncommon among pitchers.

Phils typically don't need a 5th starter until April 16th vs Braves.

They could just go with a 4-man rotation until then and with the off-days be on a regular schedule. If not, I imagine Gaudin slides into the 5th starter spot.

Best-case scenario is that the Phils go with the 4-man rotation, Hamels misses 1-2 starts in mid-April, and is back by the end of April out of extended spring training/rehab start or two.

$189 for an sub 80 win team

***Bicep tendinitis is kind of an odd injury for a baseball player. More common among weightlifters.***

Hopefully its not a warning sign of a more serious major shoulder or elbow injury.

Luckily for us, the Phillies medical staff immediately did MRIs on his entire arm and shoulder to rule those out...what's that? They didn't? That's just ridiculous.

bap: The needle got rusty, fell off the gauge, then was eaten by a baby bird, who choked to death.

NEPP - I saw that too. Need to make sure they that it will medically appropriate and that IBX will cover it or get that hit for the $400-$600 charge.

Phils' medical staff/trainers decisions the last 2+ years have utterly baffled me.

TPOT-- Thanks, I was hoping someone would come up with something better than I could

Howard: My knee hurts.

Ciccotti: You're fine, just ice it.

Howard: I think I should get an MRI

Ciccotti: Just change your socks and ice it, its fine.

Howard: No really, I think its messed up.

Ciccotti two months later: Hmm, you know what, your knee is really injured, I guess I should get an MRI done.

First off, biceps tendinitis is not a precursor to TJ surgery. Wrong muscle tendon to be concerned about.

Secondly, if it's in the shoulder, also not a candidate for Tommy John surgery. The biceps has two tendons, a short and long. One attaches to a projection of the scapula and the other, I believe without looking it up (been retired a while now) inserts on the anterior part of the shoulder/capsule. So, the diagnosis can mean either head of the muscle or the tendon as it travels through the bicipital groove of the humerus.

All this is to say that if the team doctors have made the diagnosis, and it's actually the part of the tendon that inserts on the anterior portion of the shoulder, then I would have to wonder why they didn't do an MRI. If it's just bicipital tendinitis a steroid injection and therapy is the way to go. But with this medical staff, if they're calling it "shoulder" they're insane if they don't do an MRI. On the other hand, they'd likely misread it.

Dude...MRIs cost money. I mean seriously, we already are on the hook to pay Hamels $150 million...we gotta cut costs anywhere we can.

If it's a shoulder issue... that's a HUGE deal. Shoulders often end careers.

That said, it'd be crazy to assume it's something that serious. I get the team sometimes feeding us a line... but why would Cole?

AK: I figure they'd just hold the chart upside-down.

***but why would Cole***

Because the doctors said to just ice it and rest and that it wasn't anything serious?

Why would Cole? Because he's a competitor. Did you ever hear Roy Halladay say he was anything but completely healthy until the day he retired from old age/rheumatism/shingles/dropsy and advanced Lumbar disheveledness?

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